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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Sat Aug 01, 2009, 05:52pm
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Few questions about baseball rules...

Answering them quickly would be greatly appreciated!

1 - When and why can the catcher hit (bodycheck) the runner coming to the home base?

2 - What's the difference between stepping up on a base and tagging the runner (touching him to eliminate him)? Why do sometimes they just step up on the base before the runner arrives and he's out, and why does sometimes they have to either wait until he comes and touches the glove while sliding or to run after him and touch him?

3 - What's the difference between a contact and a power hit?

4 - Can someone BRIEFLY explain the difference between a Change-Up, a Fastball, a Slider and a Curveball?

5 - Can a runner steal a base before the pitcher and the batter are in the "ready" stance? By ready stance I mean the batter ready to hit, the pitcher ready to throw, and the catcher crouched. And is there an amount of seconds between the transition of the non-ready and the ready-stance? Is it like 3 or 5 seconds? Or do they just wait until either the pitcher or batter are ready?

6 - If a player catches the ball before it lands (after it being hit by the batter), we know that the batter will be out. But will other runners on other bases be out too, or just the batter?

7 - When can we effectively use a blunt? Sometimes I hear commentators saying: "Oh now < insert name > will obviously try for the blunt". How do they know? Is there a specific game situation where blunting becomes necessary?

Thanks, I know that's a lot but I just want to get used to it!
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Old Sat Aug 01, 2009, 06:15pm
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Many of these can be answered by one of 2 ways.

Watch the game with someone knowledgeable of the game. That way, they can answer these questions as the game goes. It is easier to explain it while seeing it. Many require a long explanation which is easier to understand when it is happening.

And, read the rule book to get other answers such as number 2. It can be answered by reading and understanding the rule book. Or, you can watch the game with a knowledgeable person and get the answers quicker and easier.

Quite a few of us learned the basics like this by watching the game and being told by someone who knows the game as it is happening. You are not going to get answers quickly and easily online for some of these. In fact, some answers may be a smart remark or seem like one. Such as number 1, the answer is b/c the rules do not say the catcher can't as he is applying a tag. The runner can so why can't the catcher as the runner is trying to.

Simply, to answer these questions, watch the game, talk with someone knowledgeable, and read the rules. We do.
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Old Sat Aug 01, 2009, 06:17pm
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Originally Posted by sodapop View Post
7 - When can we effectively use a blunt? Sometimes I hear commentators saying: "Oh now < insert name > will obviously try for the blunt". How do they know? Is there a specific game situation where blunting becomes necessary?
And, the answer to number 7 is "Anytime you can get away with it."

I doubt you can use a "blunt" during the game but if you go in the clubhouse or behind the bleachers, nobody will see it.

It is a "bunt", not a "blunt".
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Old Sat Aug 01, 2009, 06:20pm
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Originally Posted by sodapop View Post
Answering them quickly would be greatly appreciated!

1 - When and why can the catcher hit (bodycheck) the runner coming to the home base?

2 - What's the difference between stepping up on a base and tagging the runner (touching him to eliminate him)? Why do sometimes they just step up on the base before the runner arrives and he's out, and why does sometimes they have to either wait until he comes and touches the glove while sliding or to run after him and touch him?

3 - What's the difference between a contact and a power hit?

4 - Can someone BRIEFLY explain the difference between a Change-Up, a Fastball, a Slider and a Curveball?

5 - Can a runner steal a base before the pitcher and the batter are in the "ready" stance? By ready stance I mean the batter ready to hit, the pitcher ready to throw, and the catcher crouched. And is there an amount of seconds between the transition of the non-ready and the ready-stance? Is it like 3 or 5 seconds? Or do they just wait until either the pitcher or batter are ready?

6 - If a player catches the ball before it lands (after it being hit by the batter), we know that the batter will be out. But will other runners on other bases be out too, or just the batter?

7 - When can we effectively use a blunt? Sometimes I hear commentators saying: "Oh now < insert name > will obviously try for the blunt". How do they know? Is there a specific game situation where blunting becomes necessary?

Thanks, I know that's a lot but I just want to get used to it!
Dear CC6,

What is your deal?

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Old Sat Aug 01, 2009, 06:39pm
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Originally Posted by GA Umpire View Post
Many of these can be answered by one of 2 ways.

Watch the game with someone knowledgeable of the game. That way, they can answer these questions as the game goes. It is easier to explain it while seeing it. Many require a long explanation which is easier to understand when it is happening.

And, read the rule book to get other answers such as number 2. It can be answered by reading and understanding the rule book. Or, you can watch the game with a knowledgeable person and get the answers quicker and easier.

Quite a few of us learned the basics like this by watching the game and being told by someone who knows the game as it is happening. You are not going to get answers quickly and easily online for some of these. In fact, some answers may be a smart remark or seem like one. Such as number 1, the answer is b/c the rules do not say the catcher can't as he is applying a tag. The runner can so why can't the catcher as the runner is trying to.

Simply, to answer these questions, watch the game, talk with someone knowledgeable, and read the rules. We do.
Thanks for the reply.

But there's a problem, I live in a familiy where hockey rules everything. I know no one that knows baseball as much and could help me answer questions during games. And sorry, I thought it was "blunt", but thanks.
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Old Sat Aug 01, 2009, 06:51pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GA Umpire View Post
And, the answer to number 7 is "Anytime you can get away with it."

I doubt you can use a "blunt" during the game but if you go in the clubhouse or behind the bleachers, nobody will see it.

It is a "bunt", not a "blunt".
I used to empty out cigar wrappers to roll mine.
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Old Sat Aug 01, 2009, 07:20pm
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Old Sat Aug 01, 2009, 07:32pm
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Old Sat Aug 01, 2009, 08:35pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sodapop View Post
Answering them quickly would be greatly appreciated!

1 - When and why can the catcher hit (bodycheck) the runner coming to the home base?

2 - What's the difference between stepping up on a base and tagging the runner (touching him to eliminate him)? Why do sometimes they just step up on the base before the runner arrives and he's out, and why does sometimes they have to either wait until he comes and touches the glove while sliding or to run after him and touch him?

3 - What's the difference between a contact and a power hit?

4 - Can someone BRIEFLY explain the difference between a Change-Up, a Fastball, a Slider and a Curveball?

5 - Can a runner steal a base before the pitcher and the batter are in the "ready" stance? By ready stance I mean the batter ready to hit, the pitcher ready to throw, and the catcher crouched. And is there an amount of seconds between the transition of the non-ready and the ready-stance? Is it like 3 or 5 seconds? Or do they just wait until either the pitcher or batter are ready?

6 - If a player catches the ball before it lands (after it being hit by the batter), we know that the batter will be out. But will other runners on other bases be out too, or just the batter?

7 - When can we effectively use a blunt? Sometimes I hear commentators saying: "Oh now < insert name > will obviously try for the blunt". How do they know? Is there a specific game situation where blunting becomes necessary?

Thanks, I know that's a lot but I just want to get used to it!
I'm guessing you are from Quebec... so I think you're being genuine. I'll give you some quick responses as a fellow fan, not from an umpire - I'm assuming you are talking about MLB

1) If the catcher has the ball, any contact at the plate is legal. The catcher is allowed to use his body to block the plate if a play is about to occur. If no play, then he needs to just let the runner score.

2) If there is a "force" all a fielder needs to do is touch the base with his foot. If there is not a force, the runner must be tagged. A force happens when a runner must try to advance because the batter has hit the ball, and the runner has to run because his place on the base is needed by a runner behind him.

3) This isn't really a rule, but players who hit for contact are just trying to get the ball in play, while power hitters typically try to hit the ball far. Depends on who the batter is. Bigger hitters try to hit it farther, typically, while faster hitters try to get it in play and make it to first.

4) A fastball is a pitch that is thrown as hard as possible. A change up is a pitch that goes slower and tries to fool the batter (its a change from normal speed). A curveball is a pitch that the pitcher puts spin on so the ball curves as it comes to the plate. A slider is thrown a bit differently then a curveball - basically a harder curveball that moves left and right more than up and down.

5) Any time the ball is in play, a runner may try to advance. The ball is out of play on foul balls and any time the umpire decides to stop play for whatever reason (perhaps to change the ball).

6) Only the batter is out. All runners must return to where they were before the hit before trying to run.

7) Bunting is a technique used by fast players to try to reach 1st base rather than swinging at the ball. Its also used when teams decide to advance a runner to another base and allow the defense to get the batter out. This is called a "sacrifice". Particularly good when you are down by just one run, and want to get a runner closer to home plate rather than try to get another hit and risk an out.

Keep watching the game with another fan, as others said. You'll learn more and more as you watch more and more games. Lastly, since this an umpire forum, you'll find that people here generally talk about very specific rules or how umpires run the game. Another site's message boards like espn.com or any other sports site for fans may prove to be useful for yourself to learn more about how fans view baseball

Enjoy the game, nothing else like it.
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Old Sat Aug 01, 2009, 11:24pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TussAgee11 View Post
I'm guessing you are from Quebec... so I think you're being genuine. I'll give you some quick responses as a fellow fan, not from an umpire - I'm assuming you are talking about MLB

1) If the catcher has the ball, any contact at the plate is legal. The catcher is allowed to use his body to block the plate if a play is about to occur. If no play, then he needs to just let the runner score.

2) If there is a "force" all a fielder needs to do is touch the base with his foot. If there is not a force, the runner must be tagged. A force happens when a runner must try to advance because the batter has hit the ball, and the runner has to run because his place on the base is needed by a runner behind him.

3) This isn't really a rule, but players who hit for contact are just trying to get the ball in play, while power hitters typically try to hit the ball far. Depends on who the batter is. Bigger hitters try to hit it farther, typically, while faster hitters try to get it in play and make it to first.

4) A fastball is a pitch that is thrown as hard as possible. A change up is a pitch that goes slower and tries to fool the batter (its a change from normal speed). A curveball is a pitch that the pitcher puts spin on so the ball curves as it comes to the plate. A slider is thrown a bit differently then a curveball - basically a harder curveball that moves left and right more than up and down.

5) Any time the ball is in play, a runner may try to advance. The ball is out of play on foul balls and any time the umpire decides to stop play for whatever reason (perhaps to change the ball).

6) Only the batter is out. All runners must return to where they were before the hit before trying to run.

7) Bunting is a technique used by fast players to try to reach 1st base rather than swinging at the ball. Its also used when teams decide to advance a runner to another base and allow the defense to get the batter out. This is called a "sacrifice". Particularly good when you are down by just one run, and want to get a runner closer to home plate rather than try to get another hit and risk an out.

Keep watching the game with another fan, as others said. You'll learn more and more as you watch more and more games. Lastly, since this an umpire forum, you'll find that people here generally talk about very specific rules or how umpires run the game. Another site's message boards like espn.com or any other sports site for fans may prove to be useful for yourself to learn more about how fans view baseball

Enjoy the game, nothing else like it.
Thanks man, you're awesome, that REALLY helped me!

And no, I'm not a bot, I do exist allright

and yesm you were correct, I am from Québec.

Again, thanks for the quick response, that rly helped me a bunch, now im rdy to play without being embarassed of not knowing the basics xD

Last edited by sodapop; Sat Aug 01, 2009 at 11:29pm.
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Old Wed Aug 05, 2009, 04:46pm
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I'm going to expand a little on the good answers already given by the previous poster. As has been said, watch the game as much as possible, and you will find the intricacies of baseball to be some of the most fascinating in all of sports. Just because baseball "looks" to be periods of inactivity, there is a TON of stuff going on even when the ball isn't being thrown or hit around.

Quote:
Q1 - When and why can the catcher hit (bodycheck) the runner coming to the home base?
1 - It would be a rare occassion that the catcher wants to cause a collision at home plate. If there is not a play happening at the plate - which means the catcher doesn't have the ball in hand or he isn't in the act of catching a throw from another player - then he would step out of the way of the runner. The collision scenario is usually brought about by the runner: the catcher gets the ball well before the runner gets to home plate, the catcher "blocks" the plate by standing in front of it to keep the runner from scoring - at that point the runner has two options to avoid being tagged out 1) try to slide around the catcher (not very sucessful if the catcher is standing directly on the plate) or 2) try to collide with the catcher as hard as possible and dislodge the baseball. To complete the tag and achieve the "out", the catcher must maintain control of the ball through the collison. If the runner succeeds in knocking the ball loose from the catcher's grasp, then he is safe and a run scores. At lower levels of amateur baseball, you will see discussions about "slide rules." These rules are intended to prevent injury, and they basically take away option 2 from the runner - if a slide rule is in effect, it is illegal for the runner to try to "bowl over" the catcher.

Quote:
Q2 - What's the difference between stepping up on a base and tagging the runner (touching him to eliminate him)? Why do sometimes they just step up on the base before the runner arrives and he's out, and why does sometimes they have to either wait until he comes and touches the glove while sliding or to run after him and touch him?
2 - As was stated, if a runner is "forced" to a base, then the fielder only has to touch the base. Situation: Runners on 1st and 2nd base. The batter hits a ground ball to the 3rd baseman, which "forces" the two runners on base to advance - the runner on 1st must go to 2nd to allow the batter to have 1st. The runner coming from 1st base subsequently "forces" the runner on 2nd to go to 3rd. So, to achieve an out, the 3rd baseman must only step on 3rd base before the runner from 2nd base arrives. Different situation: Runner only on 2nd base, and the batter hits a ground ball to the 3rd baseman. Because there was no runner on 1st base, the runner on second isn't "forced" to advance. He can return safely to second and stay there. However, if the runner does try to advance from 2nd to 3rd base, the fielder with the ball has to tag him before he reaches to base.

Quote:
Q3 - What's the difference between a contact and a power hit?
3 - These words are typically used to describe a player and his abilities. For example, "That guy's a true contact hitter," usually implies that player will hit the ball all over the field according to where the ball is pitched, and most often hits a higher percentage of line drives and ground balls that would stay in front of the outfielders. A "power hitter" is usually stereotyped as a guy who swings hard almost all the time, trying to drive the ball deep or out of the park. Oftentimes power hitters are pull hitters, meaning they try to pull all pitches to their strong side, regardless of where the pitch is located. Another conception is that a "power hitter" will miss more pitches (and strike out more often) than a contact hitter, but the reward is that the balls he does hit often drive in other runners. These definitions become very blurred when you look at superstars like Albert Pujols - a freak of nature with the talent to hit for contact and power (often at the same time.)

Quote:
Q4 - Can someone BRIEFLY explain the difference between a Change-Up, a Fastball, a Slider and a Curveball?
4 - Speed is achieved through fluid accelleration. A fastball is thrown off the fingertips, as hard as possible. A changeup is held deeper in the hands, but thrown with the same arm speed as the fastball - to the hitter, everything looks like the pitcher is throwing a fastball, but because the ball is "palmed" more, it reaches the plate more slowly than the fastball and disrupts the hitter's timing. A curveball is released similar to how one would pound a hammer and nail - the fingers pull down across the face of the ball, the thumb travels up the back of the ball - and the result is a ball that spins from top to bottom. In other words, the seams spin from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock when seen by the hitter. The release angle of a pitcher's arm cause some curve balls to break a little more side-to-side, but generally "good" curveball's are those that appear to "drop off a table" - they break straight down. A slider is thrown more like spiraling a football - the fingers pull down the side of the ball. Viewed by the batter, a right hander's slider will have seams spinning counter-clockwise. The slider usually stays more on the same plane as a fastball, but breaks left to right as it reaches the plate.

Quote:
Q5 - Can a runner steal a base before the pitcher and the batter are in the "ready" stance? By ready stance I mean the batter ready to hit, the pitcher ready to throw, and the catcher crouched. And is there an amount of seconds between the transition of the non-ready and the ready-stance? Is it like 3 or 5 seconds? Or do they just wait until either the pitcher or batter are ready?
5 - With few exceptions (as mentioned), a runner can take off toward the next base whenever he wants to. The problem is that most times it is an ill-advised move and the defense will throw out the runner easily. The whole trick to stealing bases is that the runner tries to judge the earliest possible moment when the pitcher has committed himself to deliver a pitch to the plate. When the runner "knows" that the pitcher is pitching to the batter, he has the most time available to then try to steal the next base. There are an entire section of rules that govern how a pitcher must behave around the mound that keeps the game fair for the baserunners. A violation of these rules by the pitcher is usually a "balk" and all runners are awarded the next base.

Quote:
Q6 - If a player catches the ball before it lands (after it being hit by the batter), we know that the batter will be out. But will other runners on other bases be out too, or just the batter?
6 - The rule is that on a ball hit in the air, any runners on base must remain in contact with their base until the ball is caught before they can leave to advance to the next base. This is often called "tagging up." Situation: runner on 2nd base, batter hits a high fly ball to the right fielder. The runner, assuming the ball will be caught, stands on 2nd base until he sees the right fielder catch the ball in the air for the out. At that point, the runner is free to try to run to 3rd base before the right fielder can throw the ball in to let another player tag him out. Different situation: runner on 2nd base, batter hits a line drive in the air that the runner believes is going to drop on the ground. The runner gambles and advances toward third base, but instead the fielder catches the ball in the air for the out. Now, the base runner is in danger of committing a baserunning infraction (he left his base too early, before the ball was caught.) If the runner gets back to 2nd base before the ball does, then he will be safe. However, if the fielders can tag the base before the runner gets back, then the runner is out.


Quote:
Q7 - When can we effectively use a blunt? Sometimes I hear commentators saying: "Oh now < insert name > will obviously try for the blunt". How do they know? Is there a specific game situation where blunting becomes necessary?
7 - The idea of a bunt is to softly hit the ball to a place that is difficult for fielders to reach. Typically, the 1st and 3rd basemen are at least 90 feet away from home plate - so, it's good to have a bunt that rolls about 20-30 feet down either of the foul lines: 20+ feet because it will be too far for most catchers to run to quickly, near the foul lines because that is the farthest point away from the pitcher (who is only 60 feet away from home plate.) As was stated, bunts still often result in an out, but usually only as the result of an athletic play by the defense. The bunt causes the fielders to run away from their normal positions of guarding their bases, so a good bunt almost always allows the runners that are already on base to advance to the next base.

Baseball is a game of percentages. When you hear an announcer predict a bunt, the scenario is usually something like this: the offensive team at bat is in dire need of a single run - either they are trailing by one or the game is tied. The percentages in baseball have always been that if you can get a runner to 2nd or 3rd base with less than 2 outs, the chances of that runner scoring increase exponentially. That's why any runner on 2nd or 3rd is referred to as being "in scoring position." So, let's say with no outs there is a slow runner on first base. The chance of the runner successfully stealing 2nd base is slim, so oftentimes the manager will call for the batter to "sacrifice bunt" - bunt the ball where the batter will probably be thrown out at first, but will advance the runner to second base. If it works, the runner will be at second base with 2 outs remaining in the inning to try to score him.

Last edited by UAME; Thu Aug 06, 2009 at 08:37am. Reason: changed wording to avoid confusion about slide rules, and explain why bunts become "necessary"
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Old Wed Aug 05, 2009, 05:02pm
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Originally Posted by UAME View Post
At lower levels of amateur baseball, you will see discussions about "slide rules." These rules are intended to prevent injury, and they basically take away option 2 from the runner - if a slide rule is in effect, his only choice is to slide and try to avoid being tagged.
Not correct. There is no "must slide rule." The runner must either slide, or avoid contact with the fielder. He may slide, give himself up, go around or otherwise try to touch the base without contacting the fielder if the fielder has the ball and waiting to tag the runner. A runner never has to slide as his only option.

Also, it's not that he has to "try" to avoid contact, he "must" avoid contact when these rules are in force. Trying is not good enough.
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Old Wed Aug 05, 2009, 05:19pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiegoSteve View Post

Also, it's not that he has to "try" to avoid contact, he "must" avoid contact when these rules are in force. Trying is not good enough.

Steve,

The LL rule is "attempt to avoid."


Tim.
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Old Wed Aug 05, 2009, 06:52pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiegoSteve View Post
Not correct. There is no "must slide rule." The runner must either slide, or avoid contact with the fielder. He may slide, give himself up, go around or otherwise try to touch the base without contacting the fielder if the fielder has the ball and waiting to tag the runner. A runner never has to slide as his only option.

Also, it's not that he has to "try" to avoid contact, he "must" avoid contact when these rules are in force. Trying is not good enough.
I didn't mean to say anything misleading. The OP is obviously a baseball novice, and I was trying to frame my comments within the context of my earlier situation (where I limited the runner's options to the most popular in the MLB - slide or collide.) Most of us here realize that the runner actually has several other alternatives, but those are probably secondary for anyone who refers to a collision between a base runner and a fielder as "bodychecking."
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Old Wed Aug 05, 2009, 07:35pm
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Originally Posted by BigUmp56 View Post
Steve,

The LL rule is "attempt to avoid."


Tim.
Can someone cite this rule in the LL Book? I have looked and I cannot find it anywhere.
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